Monthly Archives: August 2007

The Season Begins – Just Not On TV

Well, Ohio State Football is starting another season. I am very excited about this team, not because they are as good as last years, but because I don't know what to expect.

The only downside to this of course is that the Big10 Network is trying a money grab with Fox Sports a.k.a. News Corp. You see Fox owns 49% of the Big10 Network. They also own DirectTV so they (News Corp.) win either way. If they succeed you will end up with a monopoly of college sports very similar to the BCS (Bowl Championship Series). Can you imagine having all college and pro sports pay-per-view?

As much as I love capitalism, there's something about this that does not feel right.


The Chicken or the Egg Revisited

After doing more reading and experimenting I have found one thing, the egg (market need) does come first.

Just like in the scientific method everything starts with a problem, then you have a hypothesis, then you do an experiement, then you draw conclusions and repeat.

  1. Problem (ask the market if this is a problem)
  2. Hypotheis (test possible solutions with potential people in the market)
  3. Experiement (you build something and go private beta)
  4. Conclusions (you learn from experiment modify and repeat)

A great way to test the market to see if it has an idea is to run an adwords campaign to see if anyone is interested in your product/solution. You might need to run a number of campaings to see if you are correctly undertsanding the problem. You might also need to part with a free-giveaway to see if your idea has merit, people love contest and usually these "triggers".

Also I am not sure of other's success, but avoid the content network, I have my lowest scores here all <1% but the number of impressions there is 95% of the total.

More On Marketing…

I have been reading and learning a lot these days about marketing. I heard a term for something called "Social Proof" and it put some stuff  in perspective for me.

Basically the concept of social proof is a psycological concept that people like to belong with others and do what other people do vs. being the first to try something. Why are sites like ePinions and reviews on Amazon so important? The provide "social proof" that something is good.

This is a very important concept if you are trying to launch a new product in fact there's a good series of articles by Yaro Starak that talk about this and more.

When do you get the time?

I have found one thing to be very true when starting a business on your own, you are constantly busy, constantly working on 3 or 4 projects, whether consulting for someone, or working on your site or your product, and the one question I keep asking myself is, When am I going to get the time?

Now for me, I want to create a product and website with users that add value to peoples lives. But also during the bootstrapping phase of my business, I am consulting with clients, and I get very little time to work on my product or website. So I am in this situation that’s great, but I don’t know how long it will last, and I want to build something lasting but can’t find the time. So what do you do?

First, I need to remember you are a one person company, and in order for it to be successful you need focus and can’t afford to be spread out in 3-4 different directions.

Second, you need to focus on what you are good at and not do things half-way. Your reputation is all you have as a single person company so maintain your rep at all cost.

Third, hire some help when the opportunities arise. This is something I am struggling with. Currently I am getting so busy that I don’t have time to do all the projects. You could post a job, but I recommend before going out and hiring a person full-time, organize your projects in such a way that you can find a good freelancer to help out, one that’s reliable and you can depend on. A good place for finding help are local user groups for your favorite language, or post some stuff on some message boards.

Vegas & Beyond

Day 2 in Vegas was very nice. We saw "KA", the Cirque Du Soleil show, it was very, very cool and the BODIES exhibit. You could tell the people were Chinese and about 50% of them smoked, but the exhibit was interesting. My hotel reviews are:

  • Treasure  Island - Loose slots, clean air, close to mall, comfortable quiet beds.
  • Wynn - Nice buffet
  • Venetian - Nice, I hear they have large rooms, but I did not visit.
  • Mirage - Did not visit but tram from Treasure Island dropped us off here.
  • Cesar's Palace – Massive complex, lots of shops.
  • Bellagio -  Cool fountains, very nice inside.
  • Paris - False ceiling, and nice shops.
  • MGM Grand - Massive Hotel
  • Tropicana - Vegas version of Myrtle Beach
  • Luxor - Cool rooms, but tight slots (all north strip casinos) and a little run-down.
  • Mandalay Bay - Very nice, House of Blues, tram to Luxor.

Our trip to the Grand Canyon was very nice, we had an elk walk up to us and start eating during our walk back from dinner. The park was nice, just don't eat at the McDonalds outside the park.

When we finally found Bard & Anne's house the stay was great. On Saturday we did some hiking and I proved how out of shape I was by stopping half-way. Dinner was great and we stayed up to 4:30am local time chatting and drinking wine and local beer.

Note on Avis Car Rental: We went through 3 Chevy Impala cars. The first one, had a check-engine/check-oil light on. The 2nd one smelled and the blinker stopped working. The 3rd one had a tire pressure sensor light that kept coming on saying we had a flat tire. No more AVIS. No more Chevy Impalas.

Vegas – Day 1

We are off to our Vegas Rt. 66 vacation. Thanks Adam for watching Castle & the house.

We got to Vegas and picked up our Avis car. The first one we tried had a change oil light on, so we got another, but this one was dirty and smelled of Mexican food, but we drove down the strip to Treasure Island and found the parking garage, then eventually the lobby.

One thing we have found is that the hotels are all designed to keep you in, so exits are not clearly marked and it's very easy to get lost on first pass. So when we found the lobby we found we could not check in until 11:00 so we dropped of our luggage back in the car and went to the Wynn for lunch. It was OK, filled up and went back to TI to check-in and stuff. We did some gambling, mainly slots and video blackjack, dropped about $100 each, and won about $60 each. So add a nap, some walking around, some dinner, and that was day 1.